atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

Vietnamese Unit of Currency

I read an article about a new law against public drunkenness in Ho Chi Minh City. Specifically, drinking in karaoke bars.

That's not very interesting in itself.

What is interesting is that the fine amounts to around $94. In the Vietnamese currency it's 1.5 million...


That's an honest-to-God "WTF" moment for me. All right, I don't exactly expect an asian Communist nation to give a rat's ass about a word from English slang which means "penis", but STILL....

First off, that's a seriously inflated currency. It amounts to not-quite 16,000 dong to the dollar. I have no idea what a dong buys in Communist Viet Nam--and I'm wary of trying to do a Google search with "dong" as one of the keywords. (Just try it, if you are feeling adventurous--but don't blame me for what comes up on your screen.) On one of the sites which came up on a search for "ho chi minh city" and "prices", the writer said that 1,000,000 dong was not all that much even to the denizens of Ho Chi Minh City, it must be terribly inflated.

Second, the a native English speaker, I simply cannot take it seriously.

It all makes a limited kind of sense, though. Since it's a command economy, of course the currency is largely worthless. And considering how the average person living under a communist dictatorship typically fares, the name (or, more specifically, its connotation in English) may also be particularly apt....

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